There has never been a better time to create a custom-built travel app. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, there were 1.3 billion tourist visits in 2017. This number is expected to grow by 4 to 5 percent the following year. Yet the swelling numbers of tourists mean that potential users of your travel app have more options than ever before. To improve user adoption and retention, you will need to truly stand out.
Top travel and ticket booking apps such as Kayak, Hopper, and Airbnb have a rich array of features designed to attract and retain customers. Below, we’ll discuss six of our hottest tips to put you on the path to success with your custom travel or ticketing mobile app.
1. Easy Booking
Whether someone is heading out of state or around the world, booking the trip should be the easy part. Many customers want an end-to-end travel booking solution that handles everything from hotel and restaurant reservations to sightseeing tours and ground transportation. Above all, booking must be as simple and straightforward as possible. Users should be able to make reservations and receive tickets with just a few taps on the screen. To lower the barriers to entry and avoid “password fatigue,” many travel apps allow new users to sign up with existing social media accounts, such as Facebook and Google.
2. Payment Gateway
Of course, just as important as a simple booking process is the ability to easily send and manage mobile payments. You should integrate your app with payment services such as PayPal, Google Wallet, and Apple Pay. These systems are mature and trusted, and they prioritize a good user experience. On the other hand, building your own payments system is not advised. Although you’ll save money on the middleman fees, you must understand that the business logic is extremely complex and the project will take a long time. In addition, your customers will likely be leery of sharing their payment card information directly with a merchant. You could be liable in the event of a data breach.
3. Rewards System
The top travel companies have their own customer loyalty programs, from Hilton Honors to Delta SkyMiles. These rewards programs provide benefits like free upgrades, discounts, late check-outs, and airport lounge access to customers who use their services early and often. Similarly, your travel app can give special recognition to those who use it most frequently. For example, if your app helps people find cheap flights, you can offer “power users”coupons or special deals that aren’t accessible to the masses. Not only will this assist with customer retention, but it will help you gain more data about what types of rewards people find most valuable.
4. Travel Planner
There is no reason for people to stop using your app once their flight has touched down. One of the most valuable travel app features is a travel planner or calendar that helps users organize their entire vacation from start to finish. Travel apps with planners, calendars, and organizers can be tremendously valuable for your users. These features provide flight details and layover information, keep track of your rental car agreement, and so forth. For example, the TripIt mobile app combines all of your travel reservations, tickets, itineraries, and bookings within a single sleek and easy-to-use interface.
When traveling to an unfamiliar location, people will need constant advice. This includes where to store their luggage, where to buy an emergency toothbrush, where the nearest restroom is, where to have a nice steak dinner, and more. Travel apps that make use of geolocation can help answer all these queries. By displaying the closest shops, hotels, and restaurants to your current location, apps with geolocation can remain useful during the entirety of the trip. They can even help users save money. The HotelTonight booking app, for example, includes “GeoRates”. These are discounted offers that are only visible to people within a few miles of the hotel.
People love to share experiences, especially when having unique and exciting experiences like travel. That’s why your custom travel app should include a way for travelers to view and leave star reviews and recommendations about hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other travel amenities. You can choose to provide your own review system, or you can integrate your app with dedicated review services such as Google Maps, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. Not only will this feedback boost existing users’ engagement and retention, it will also help new users make smarter decisions about their own travel plans.
Custom Travel App Development
The six suggestions listed above are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to useful travel app features. Other possibilities include weather forecasts, currency and time conversions, and language translations. By providing a one-stop shopping experience for your users’ travel needs, you will be much more likely to attract them and see them return again and again. To build these features, you’ll want to join forces with a knowledgeable and experienced custom mobile app development partner such as Specific-Group. Contact us today for a free consultation about your custom travel app.